"More Cool-Down Suggestions"
Previous columns, along with on-air mentions, have referenced ways to "beat-the-heat." Heat relief today will be needed as we flirt with a 100 degree high. There weren't very many options to stay cool during the summer months. My mother would instruct me to “fill the washtub” so that my brother Kevin would get a “cool-down” during some blistering weather in Pennsylvania. Kev enjoyed that until his lips turned purple. That same wash tub was also used to ice down beer and pop for summertime events. The washtub became obsolete when inflatable pools came along but Doug Kelly and his B-B gun ceased that endeavor. Another invention, the lawn sprinkler, offered another quick cool-down as we dashed through it. As we got older, the Ewing Park Swimming Pool provided heat relief. One of the best gifts to the neighborhood was the decision by the Shultz and the Lutz families to install backyard pools. I noted in a previous column that the turkey vulture provides an important service to our Louisiana highways by eliminating roadside trash. In the heat of the summer, these vultures can rapidly cool themselves by urinating on their claws. The black-tailed jackrabbit also has a built-in cooling apparatus. Due to its oversize ears, these trademark appendages increase the hare's audio range to avoid predators. Due to the abundance of blood vessels, its 7-inch ears are also a cooling mechanism that dissipate heat and regulate body temperature. The black-tailed jackrabbit also has a voracious appetite and can easily adapt to the heat and climate of Death Valley. Like many desert animals, it gets its water from plants. To adjust to seasonal changes it switches its grazing patterns by waiting until summer's heat to load-up on water filled cacti and grasses. It often consumes several times its body weight per day to stay hydrated.